The Galveston Police Department has apologized for its treatment of a black man with a mental illness after two officers on horseback led him through the city’s streets by a rope.
Photos posted on social media show a handcuffed man walking while flanked by two white police officers on horseback. One officer is leading the man with what appears to be a blue rope that is clipped to the handcuffs behind his back.
According to the Galveston police, a transport unit to the station was not available at the time of the arrest.
The handcuffed man in the photo is named as 43-year-old Donald Neely.
The police department identified the officers as P. Brosch and A. Smith.
Neely who is bipolar and homeless was arrested on Saturday by the two officers for criminal trespass. He was later released on bond.
“Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance,” Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said of the arrest. “I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Hale said in the Houston Chronicle.
Hale said the officers had no “malicious intent” and that his department had “immediately changed the policy” to prevent further use of the technique.
The method of handcuffing someone and escorting them between two officers on horses is usually used in volatile situations, like crowd control.
Adrienne Bell, who is running for a Texas congressional seat, said the photo had created “anger, disgust and questions from the community.”
Many people on social media said the images evoked the history of slavery, racism and violence directed at black people in America.
Surprisingly to some online the city of Galveston police department motto is ‘Protect With Respect’.
Video of the incident has also emerged.